Shabbat = An Acid Trip

Shabbat is a funny thing.  There is a great book by Abraham Joshua Heschel that does a great job of explaining shabbat.  However, it talks about shabbat in an intellectual way, an abstract way.  It does not talk about what shabbat feels like, or how I know I am in shabbat. The reason that this is important is because, without knowing, or grokking for those who know the term (it means knowing something in your bones, in your kishkas), what … Continue reading

Parsha Key Taytzay: Nearing the End

Hello everyone, I hope you-all are doing well. We are into the home stretch of the torah cycle, and like a marathon, it is grueling. Let’s see what we are dealing with before we try to make some sense of it. This week’s parsha (Torah portion) picks up almost from where the previous parsha left off:  with war.  We start with the question of what to do when we capture women.  From there we talk about a couple of issues … Continue reading

Farmers Planting in the Fall

We have entered the Jewish month of Elul which is the month before the Jewish new year… well one of the 4 Jewish new years.  We Jews are a bit funny that way.  We celebrate the new year on the 7th month of the year.  And then there is the new year for the trees, and the new year that actually is at the beginning of the year, and lastly a new year for the vegetables and animals.  Crazy really. … Continue reading

Parsha Shoftim: The Judgement of Torah

Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Don’t be so judgmental.  Judge fairly.  Ladies and gents, here comes the judge… The name of the this week’s parsha (Torah portion) is called Judges (or Shoftim in Hebrew), and it is a seemingly haphazard, hodgepodge, patchwork parsha.  Let’s see what kind of theme we can find in it! It starts out talking about appointing judges and how they should be honest.  It then talks about idolatry and how to find someone guilty … Continue reading

Parsha R’ay: Are You Willing to Commit?

So, how did you all answer the big question?  Yeah, I’m talking about the question in the title:  Are you willing to commit?  This is the big question that starts this week’s parsha (weekly Torah portion).  Ok, it isn’t really a question; it is really instructions to the ritual of choosing between a blessing and a curse.  So, I started by asking you a trick question, for the question doesn’t really get asked until we go into the land, which … Continue reading

Parsha Aykev: The Heeling of Torah

The name of this week’s parsha (Torah portion) is called Aykev which can mean the “heel” or “as a consequence of.”  For what I wish to talk about today, I think I prefer the latter. This parsha is the 3rd installment of Moshe’s last words to the people.  In it, Moshe (Moses)  tells the people that following haShem’s (god’s) ways will provide wealth and health and a bountiful land and victory over more powerful peoples.  He goes on to describe … Continue reading

Dancing in the Vineyards

Imagine that you have been told that you have a terminal illness and that you will die in exactly one year.  How does this make you feel?  Now, imagine one year has gone by.  It is the night before the day of your death.  All your affairs are in order.  You’ve made a will and made amends, and had time to tell the people that you love how you feel.  You lie down in your bed and as you drift … Continue reading